Definition of conodont in US English:



  • 1A fossil marine animal of the Cambrian to Triassic periods, having a long wormlike body, numerous small teeth, and a pair of eyes. It is now believed to be the earliest vertebrate.

    Class Conodonta, phylum Chordata: numerous families

    • ‘Other than the ‘eyes’ of the Crawling Eye model, the conodont is revealed to be a very ordinary sort of vertebrate.’
    • ‘Interestingly, the authors state that the earliest (Pre-Cambrian to Early Cambrian) conodonts, known as the Protoconodonta, are probably unrelated.’
    • ‘The Ordovician is best known for the presence of its diverse marine invertebrates, including graptolites, trilobites, brachiopods, and the conodonts (early vertebrates).’
    • ‘Life table analyses were then made for the two populations assuming that the height of the cusp reflects the age of the conodont animal and that the samples represent normal mortality rates.’
    • ‘The presence of hydroxyproline in all samples of pearls tested suggests but does not prove that these unusual elements may actually have been secreted within a biological organism like the conodont animal.’
    1. 1.1 A tooth of the conodont animal, often found as a fossil.
      • ‘However all conodont elements grew by accretion on their margins or external surfaces, whereas Eurytholia sclerites show only a limited degree of accretion on their internal surfaces.’
      • ‘A second important application is the use of a colour alteration index that recognizes the degree of heating at depth in the Earth's crust by means of the colour change shown by a conodont element.’
      • ‘The conodont element on the left side is obvious if you are looking for it.’
      • ‘The conodont samples had been collected for various purposes and underwent different treatment in the laboratory, and consequently the conodont elements retrieved vary in minimum size.’
      • ‘At one time or another, most of these have been regarded as conodont elements.’


Mid 19th century: from modern Latin Conodonta (plural), from Greek kōnos ‘cone’ + odous, odont- ‘tooth’.